Five Russians were detained among eight suspects in the explosion that disrupted rail and vehicle traffic on the $3.6 billion Crimea bridge, Russia’s domestic intelligence service said on Wednesday.
Ukrainian military intelligence was behind Saturday’s attack on Europe’s longest 12-mile bridge, the FSB said in a statement. Ukrainian authorities have praised the incident but have yet to formally accept responsibility for the blast, which Russia says killed three people.
“Currently, five Russian citizens, three Ukrainian and Armenian citizens involved in the preparation of the crime have been detained as part of the criminal case,” the FSB said, adding that several other suspects were involved in the crime. plan.
The explosives were shipped from the Ukrainian city of Odessa in August and three Ukrainians, two Georgians and an Armenian national supported plans to arrange shipments from Bulgaria to Russia via Georgia, the FSB said.
A Ukrainian citizen and five detained Russians prepared documents to receive explosives for a non-existent Crimean company, the agency said. The investigation continues.
►NATO defense ministers met in Brussels on Wednesday to coordinate plans to supply Ukraine with more weapons.
► Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Kazakhstan on Wednesday on the sidelines of a regional summit, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Erdogan offered to chair talks between Russia and the West.
Pentagon says there’s no sign Putin is ready to use nuclear weapons
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Wednesday that the Pentagon saw no sign that Russian President Vladimir Putin was preparing to use nuclear weapons as his troops faltered in Ukraine. Austin made the remarks while briefing reporters in Brussels, where NATO allies meet to discuss military aid to Ukraine.
“It is reckless and irresponsible to rattle the nuclear saber,” Austin said. “We don’t want to see and hear this kind of behavior from a major nuclear power. So it’s very dangerous.”
Army Generals Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley said Ukraine’s primary needs for the war included air defense systems, artillery, rocket launchers, tanks and infantry fighting vehicles. Milley slammed Russia’s recent missile attack on Ukrainian cities, calling the “indiscriminate and deliberate attack” a “war crime.”
– Tom Vanden Brooke
Ukraine receives artillery and air defense systems from US, Germany
The United States and its allies are taking swift steps to respond to Ukraine’s demands for an air defense system to prevent major damage from missile attacks launched by Russia on Monday and Tuesday.
Ukraine received its first IRIS-T air defense system from Germany and four other High Mobility Rocket Artillery Systems (HIMARS) from the United States, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Wednesday. Deliveries accelerated this week after a Russian attack on much of Ukraine in retaliation for a truck bomb on Saturday over a key Russian-built bridge in Crimea.
The United States also announced plans to send eight National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) to Ukraine; two are expected to be delivered soon. In addition, the Netherlands said it would provide air defense missiles worth $14.5 million, and France said it would also contribute to Ukraine’s air defense.
“A new era of air defense has begun,” Reznikov tweeted. “It is a moral imperative to protect the skies in order to save our people.”
Shelling again causes dangerous blackout at Zaporozhye nuclear power plant
For the second time in five days, Europe’s second-largest nuclear power plant has been taken off the grid due to shelling, again facing a radiation emergency.
The operator of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant said on Wednesday that a Russian missile damaged a substation in the north of it, causing the plant to lose power. Even when the plant’s six reactors are inactive, they require extended cooling to prevent overheating.
Energoatom said the external power was repaired after about eight hours, while the plant’s emergency diesel generators, which depend on an uncertain fuel supply in the war zone, provided backup power, but noted that a similarly dangerous outage could occur at any time.
Experts have warned of the dangers of continued fighting near the factory, which has been occupied by Russian troops since the beginning of the war but is run by Ukrainian employees. Analysts say repeated outages over short periods of time will only increase the risk.
The IAEA has repeatedly called for a protected area around the facility — IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi made his case directly to Putin on Tuesday — but so far there has been no hostilities around the facility stop.
Biden: Efforts to release Britney Greener from Russian prison no progress
President Joe Biden said Wednesday that U.S. officials have made no progress in freeing WNBA basketball star Britney Greener from a Moscow prison. Asked by reporters if there was any movement in the Greener case, Biden replied: “It has nothing to do with Putin.”
Biden told CNN on Tuesday that he has “no intention” to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at next month’s G20 summit in Indonesia — but if Putin says he wants to talk about Greener , he would consider having a conversation.
Greener, who played basketball in Russia during the WNBA offseason, was arrested in February on drug charges at Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow. Griner admitted to having vaping cans containing cannabis oil in her luggage, but testified that she inadvertently packaged the cans without criminal intent. She was sentenced to nine years in prison; her appeal hearing is scheduled for October. 25.
— Francesca Chambers, USA TODAY
Putin blames U.S. for pipeline explosion, says Russia ready to restore gas supplies
Putin said on Wednesday that Russia was ready to restart gas deliveries to Europe via the only remaining link of the Nord Stream gas pipeline — and again blamed the U.S. for an explosion that crippled the system. German government spokesman Christian Hoffmann rejected the offer, saying Russia had been an unreliable gas supplier since the war began.
European authorities are investigating an explosion at one of the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines. U.S. officials have dismissed Putin’s claim that the U.S. wants to disrupt flows to encourage European imports of more expensive LNG.
Experts discuss Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine
What does Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons mean for the security of millions of people in Ukraine and around the world, including the United States, where Russian nuclear-tipped missiles are sure to reach?
USA TODAY interviewed former chief intelligence officer Rolf Mowat-Larson, former CIA officials, and many other nuclear security experts and analysts for answers. They all agree with President Joe Biden’s assessment that the current situation is fraught with potential dangers, including the possibility of an increasingly cornered Putin’s decision to deploy a small nuclear weapon in his vast nuclear arsenal. Here’s what else the experts had to say.
– Josh Meyer, USA TODAY
Kremlin bombing plans to rebuild Ukraine with frozen Russian assets
Proposals by major industrial nations to use frozen Russian assets to finance reconstruction in Ukraine have been harshly criticized by Moscow.
“This is pure international extortion,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.
The G7 statement released after the virtual meeting on Tuesday called for “ensure the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine, including exploring ways to use Russian funds to achieve this”. After the invasion began in February, the West imposed sanctions on Russian banks. In addition to freezing Russia’s gold and foreign exchange reserves, all transactions related to the management of Russian banks’ reserves and assets, as well as transactions with any legal entity, are within the scope of the ban.